It is time for Christian Ponder to step up to the proverbial plate and lead the Minnesota Vikings. The cupboard of excuses is now bare, the supporting cast is firmly in place and simply riding the back of Minnesota mainstay and NFL MVP Adrian Peterson is no longer an option.
Minnesota has no hidden agenda this offseason, and they have demonstrated through free agency and the 2013 NFL draft they are building to win now. It was also crystal clear that Ponder is their guy – at least for this season.
What happens next year is entirely up to Ponder. Often times we hear the phrase “make or break season” in reference to NFL players, primarily quarterbacks. There are few better examples of said make or break season than Ponder’s case in Minnesota.
In all fairness to Ponder, he did not have a wealth of tools at his disposal one year ago. The explosive but oft injured Percy Harvin missed most of the season, and no receiver stepped up to replace the void Harvin left on the Vikings offense. Tight end Kyle Rudolf was really the lone bright spot of a dismal Minnesota passing attack.
That said, Minnesota has been busy in the offseason to remedy the situation. Harvin left via trade to the Seattle Seahawks, but Greg Jennings was signed away from the rival Green Bay Packers in free agency and the Vikings used a first round pick on Tennessee Volunteer wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in the draft.
With the addition of the new offensive weapons comes far greater expectations of Ponder. The bottom line is, the pieces are in place and the Vikings have again called Ponder’s number placing his future as an NFL quarterback firmly in his own hands. It is put up or shut up time.
There is no argument that Ponder has the potential for upside as a fantasy football QB in 2013. There are risks, however, and all pieces must fall into place. Jennings is an injury risk at WR and Patterson showed inconsistent hands in Tennessee. Peterson showed his toughness returning from a torn ACL to rush for over 2,000 yards a season ago, but there is always the possibility of re-injury to a rebuilt knee.
If you are a risk taker and don’t mind rolling the dice – Ponder is a QB2 potential with upside in 2013.